The Bible is True
By S.C. Kwon
What Is The Bible?
People generally have their own preconceived ideas about the Bible, and before they even open its pages, they have already made up their minds as to what it is and what it means. Therefore, there is a great tendency to misunderstand or simply be unaware of what the Bible actually says.
Many think of the Bible as one of religion’s sacred writings. As Buddhism has its sutras, Confucianism has the writings of Confucius, and Islam has the Koran, there is a great tendency to consider Christianity as being simply another of these religions and the Bible as its holy writings. People ask what is so special about the Bible. Other religions also have their books of morals, so what is the difference? This is an attitude commonly held by those who have not really looked into the matter in any depth.
I would like to say in advance that the Bible definitely is not a book of religious writings and morals. As we study the Bible we will take as our theme, The Bible is True, and we will be examining the Bible carefully with reference to many of the verses contained in its pages in order to ascertain its veracity. If you find, as I have, that the Bible is indeed true, you will also realize that the consequences are enormous and you will see that this is not a matter to be taken lightly.
What Does The Bible Say?
The Bible talks about God, but does God really exist? If He does, how does His existence relate to man and the fate of mankind? The question also arises as to whether or not He created this world. Those who accept the theory of evolution tell us that the earth came into being by chance, and that it is by chance that the whole of the natural world continues to take its course. The Bible, on the other hand, tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, and it also says that He created man. Who has the correct answer, the evolutionists or the creationists? Man or God?
Some people think it is better to gloss over matters such as these and simply believe without question. They feel it is unnecessary to go into these matters in such detail. There is no need for blind faith, however, when the Bible shows us the facts very clearly. Blind faith can be very dangerous; it can lead a person along the path to eternal damnation. It is important to know precisely and question things in detail until you grasp something definite.
The Bible talks about Jesus Christ and tells us that He was the Son of God. Indeed, it says that He was God Himself, who came to the world in the flesh, as a man. He lived in this world for a little more than thirty years and then He left once more. As a result of what He achieved in this world, the gospel came to be preached and people came to receive salvation. If all of this is not true, the Bible we read and the gospel we are preaching are also false and nothing but a meaningless pack of lies. If the Bible is not true, many people are putting a great deal of time and effort into something which is utterly meaningless. This is why it is so important to know for certain whether the Bible is credible or not.
The Bible talks about a variety of matters that demand our consideration. It says, for example, that There is another world that will follow in the future - an eternal world, the eternal heaven, quite apart from this world. But it also talks about hell as being part of that eternal future. In juxtaposition to heaven, we are told that hell is the place where sin will be judged and man must pay the consequences for his sin. If the Bible is found to contain the truth, to be a book of facts, it follows that hell is a fact. Does hell truly exist?
The Bible says clearly that death does not mean the end of man’s existence; after we die, we will be resurrected. If this is true, when the life that you are now living in this world comes to an end, that would not mean the end of your existence. There is the eternal future to contend with: the eternal heaven or the eternal hell. The Bible tells us that man has sinned and continues to commit sins. It says that sinners will be judged and sentenced to punishment in hell. What actually is sin? And how does it relate to us personally? We will also be taking a look at these questions in the coming chapters.
If the Bible is not true, we can conclude that heaven and hell are also mere fabrications, so we can set our hearts at ease and live our lives entirely as we please, free from all concern about such matters. If, on the other hand, all of this actually is true, it is not something to be taken lightly; it is an extremely important matter.
The Bible also frequently refers to heaven and the kingdom of heaven. Heaven and hell are very abstract concepts that can easily be misunderstood. The Communists say that heaven is just another theory that has been created to exploit the people and capture their hearts. They describe religion as the opium of the masses. Are they right? Does heaven exist or not? If heaven and hell do exist where is the dividing line, who makes out the tickets, and who decides on the destination?
We are now living within an ultramodern scientific culture, but heaven and hell are beyond science and technology. They are concepts that can’t be visualized in a material sense. Many scientists argue that heaven and hell can’t possibly exist and they usually dismiss the very idea, but this is a matter far too important to be rejected without a moment’s consideration. Heaven and hell are matters related to our spirit. They can’t be revealed materially, and I would not even attempt to do that. I will, however, be telling you how you can find answers to all these issues and solve these problems through the Bible.
A Matter Of Life And Death
Death is another matter that everyone has to face at some time. Our individual lives in this world don’t go on forever. Some people consider ending their lives early, some have no choice but to face an early death, and some live to a ripe old age. In Psalm 90 verse 10 it says that
| “the days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” |
Even though fate may smile sweetly on a person so that he manages to live a comfortable life, most of that life will still be accompanied by worries, troubles, anger, disappointment, and distress. Where is the meaning in a life that is nothing but toil and sorrow from start to finish? If we take an honest look at the lives that we lead in this world, we can’t help but wonder where it is all leading and what it all means.
Perhaps you, too, are searching for clear answers to matters such as these. Perhaps you have already found answers, or you think you know the answers but aren’t certain. Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to make sure? The Bible tells us that the dead will be resurrected. Is this a fact? Is there life after death? And what exactly is this thing called “life”?
Science has brought man a lot of modern conveniences. Thanks to science, we have electric lights so that we can see clearly at night. Science has provided us with computers, televisions, telephones, cars, and airplanes. We are living in an age in which we are able to launch rockets carrying artificial satellites up into the skies. Man himself is able to travel to the moon and explore other planets, but has science solved the problems of man’s life itself? No matter how advanced our modern scientific world may be, it hasn’t yet been able to bring a dead person back to life.
Suppose a man tries to walk in front of a vicious dog without waking the animal from its sleep. No matter how quietly that man may creep past the dog, or how deeply it may appear to be sleeping, the moment the man is in front of the dog, it will suddenly jump up and attack. In just the same way, it is not possible to live your life and pass by death without waking it from its slumber. You can’t live your life without rousing misery from its sleep.
Man’s life amounts to little more than an accumulation of layer upon layer of misery as death comes ever closer. The problems just mount up one upon the other, whether caused by others, or whether we bring them upon ourselves, and we find that we have no alternative but to live in the midst of suffering and distress. Such is man’s life, man’s existence.
Modern medicine may be able to prolong our lives, so that we can live a little longer than we might have done in the past, but everyone must die in the end. We live in the fear and insecurity of knowing that nuclear weapons – the product of our scientific culture – are a threat to our very existence. This world spends a lot of time debating about morals, philosophy, and various ideologies, but There is one more matter that demands serious consideration. It is the question of why we are living at all. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we heading?
I once read in the introduction to a book on philosophy, that even though the history of philosophy goes back thousands of years, it still hasn’t been able to come up with an answer. Philosophy still hasn’t been able to present man with a satisfactory answer.
What about you? Have you been able to find an answer to the question of the meaning of your life? Man lives his life surrounded by problems, but clearly the greatest of these is the problem of death. Since man can’t resolve this problem, he simply resigns himself to his fate. He thinks that death is unavoidable and There is nothing he can do about it, so There is no point in even thinking about it. Death is inevitable, and it could happen any time. Man’s life is like a walk along a tightrope. At any moment he could slip and fall to certain death.
Man lives his whole life in constant fear of death. If this problem is not solved, there can be no meaning to man’s existence, no meaning whatsoever. “I could die tomorrow, so what is the point in my life today?”
The World Can’t Go On Like This
Then there is the matter of this world in which we now live. Is there a future for our world? And what about the events that are taking place? Is history just flowing along aimlessly or is it being guided along a course with a clear purpose?
No matter how we look at our world, the future of humankind does not look very bright. The evidence to this effect is all around us.
Let me take the city of Seoul as an example. Even ten years ago the traffic in my country’s capital city wasn’t nearly as congested as it is today. There has been such a rapid increase in the number of cars in Seoul in the past three or four years that a drive through the city that used to take thirty minutes may now take an hour, if you are lucky, and sometimes up to two hours.
Congested roads are by no means the only problem that our world must now face. As we drive around in all these cars we use up gas as if it were water. We tend to forget that there is a limit to the resources of gas and petroleum that we have under the ground. We are merely drilling what is there. We can’t create new sources of petroleum and neither are they going to suddenly appear. What are we going to do when it all runs out?
Acid rain has been a cause for great concern in recent years. If we are exposed to too much of this rain, it can be very harmful to our health. Crops in the fields are dying because of it, and the pollution is also rotting and killing the trees. This is a very real situation.
The damage to the ozone layer surrounding our earth is a great cause for concern these days. The ozone layer is situated between the earth’s atmosphere and outer space and it protects the earth from the dangerous ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. If a person were to be directly exposed to the full force of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, he would die. If the ozone layer were to be totally destroyed, all the people, indeed all life on this earth, would die. It is the ozone layer that blocks these rays.
But the ozone layer has gradually been damaged by the fluorocarbons released into the air by consumer products. These fluorocarbons have been eating away at the ozone layer, and much of it has been destroyed. There have already been many articles in the newspapers reporting on the hole in the ozone layer above the South Pole. If this process is not checked, eventually the ozone layer will be completely destroyed, and everyone on earth will die. No one will be able to live.
When we stop to think, we find that There is no end to the number of environmental problems facing our earth. The future of humankind looks very bleak. Pollution and irregular weather conditions are affecting agricultural activities. Consequently, there is not enough food and every year tens of thousands of people die of starvation in Africa, Ethiopia, Southeast Asia, India, and Bangladesh.
The waters in the oceans aren’t safe either. Our oceans are becoming polluted and, as a result, we sometimes hear of fish dying in mass quantities. Many of the fish that do manage to survive despite the polluted waters aren’t safe to eat.
Problems such as the rapid growth in world population and the increase in chemical waste created by some of our modern technology are leading to more and more extensive pollution. There are often programs on television that discuss and debate the role of government in tackling these problems, but actually the situation is out of control. No matter what counter-measures we may take at this point, the fate of the human race looks grim as all of these problems come flooding toward us. This is the way things are going right now, but where will it all lead to?
What About The Future?
What about the future of our young people, our teenagers? Does it look promising? When they ahead, what do they see? Most of them seem to find little meaning in their lives and see little hope for the future so they end up adopting a fatalistic attitude. They say things like, “Oh well, I don’t know. Whatever happens happens.” So many of our young people are turning to drugs for comfort or as a way of escape from the reality of their meaningless existence. Tens of thousands of our children are turning to lives of crime and corruption, living just as they please.
Perhaps some of our youngsters have the determination to be strong and attempt to do something with their lives, or contribute something to their society. Many, however, have no dreams and entertain little hope for the future.
The Bible tells us that this present world would not continue indefinitely and it talks about the signs that will tell us that the last days of this world are upon us. Is this true? Will there be an end to this world? If so, is that end imminent? And what will happen when it comes? Is not this a matter that demands some consideration?
Our society today is full of crime, conflicts, and anarchy. Terrorism, drive-by shootings, muggings, rape, violent robberies - such are the incidents that reach the headlines of our newspapers with such frequency that they no longer produce the shock reaction they deserve. Who is going to solve these problems and come up with the answers? And how are they going to do it? Think about this for a moment. The stress mounts up around us, but no one really has the time anymore to sit down quietly and think about how to deal with the complex situation in which we find ourselves.
When night comes in this fast-moving world, you find that you are exhausted after such a busy day and you just fall asleep. Then when you wake up the next morning, you start to run around again, never really getting anywhere or finishing anything. The time flies by and you don’t even notice that you have aged another year ... two years ... three years ... four years... You live a meaningless life and then just die at the end of it.
But think about it for a moment. Why are things this way? What is going to become of you? Who will solve this problem for you? Where can you go to find the answer?
Man’s Continual Search
Man is born into this world and then he spends his whole life studying and searching for something. Diligent in his search, he inquires here and there. He does not know what he is looking for. He does not even know when he lost it. But he has the feeling that something is missing.
The religions of this world are all part of man’s effort to find that missing link, so to speak. Business and trading are also a part of man’s search, earning a living is a part of it, and so are literature and art. All of man’s activities are a part of his search for that missing something. Man keeps up this search all his life and then in the end he comes to the conclusion that life is transient, empty, and meaningless. There is no real end to his search, since he can’t find an answer. The only conclusion that man can reach is that life is temporary and fleeting.
Pascal wrote that man is a “thinking reed.” In the midst of this complex world, each person needs to think about these problems at least once in his lifetime, and if he can’t figure out how to solve them, he needs to go somewhere else or to someone else to find the answer.
I, too, spent many years looking for this answer and then one day in 1961 I found it. I found the reason for existence, and the answer to the problem of life, through the Bible. I’ll be telling you more about it later, but I was a pastor even before I received that answer from the Bible. Even though I was a pastor for a long time, and preached diligently, I went through years and years of anguish and distress. All that time I longed only to end it all. I just wanted to die. Then one day I found the answer to all my problems, here in the Bible. And when I found that answer, I was almost crazy with joy.
You, too, can find that answer. Don’t let yourself just wander through life aimlessly; go looking for the answer and let it give direction and meaning to your life.
What Can Be Gained From Reading The Bible?
The reason we need to study the Bible is to be found within the pages of this book itself. In John’s Gospel chapter 5 verse 39 it says,
|Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life. |
And in Second Timothy chapter 3 verse 15 it says,
|And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. |
Our initial aim in reading the Bible is to receive eternal life, or salvation. Those who have already experienced this first step will have new aims, but it is important to understand from the beginning that the Bible shouldn’t be studied just in order to increase our intellectual knowledge.
Since the matter of salvation, or eternal life, is the central theme of the Bible, we need to find out precisely what the Bible says on this point.
Salvation is unquestionably an individual, personal experience. The Bible expresses this experience in various ways. We have already found references to receiving salvation and receiving eternal life. In John’s Gospel chapter 3 verse 3, Jesus tells us that
| “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” |
Jesus says that we must be “born again.”
We hear a lot of talk these days about being “born again,” but what does this expression actually mean? In verse 5 of this same third chapter of John, Jesus explains it in slightly more detail. He says,
|Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. |
Jesus says here that we must be born of water and the Spirit. What does this actually mean?
There is an unfortunate tendency these days to think about this matter very casually, if at all, and to draw hasty and somewhat vague conclusions. It seems that many people believe that if they are baptized and go to church on Sundays, this is sufficient for them to become children of God, receive salvation, and go to heaven when they die. We hear people say things like, “The Bible says that salvation is received through faith, and I believe, so I must be saved. I must be born again. Some people say that they’ll receive salvation some time in the future; others say that they’ll find out after they die whether or not they have a place in heaven. Who is right? If you look carefully at what the Bible says you will find that many such beliefs aren’t grounded on sound biblical truth. In Matthew chapter 7 verse 21 Jesus gave us a warning when He said,
| “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” |
Who are those who do the will of the Father in heaven? Who are those who do the will of God? What is the will of God?
Don’t Be Deceived
As we seek out the answers to these and other related questions, it is important to remember that it is very easy to fall prey to deception. In his letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul warned the believers to beware of those who
| “serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18). |
He also warned the Ephesian church that they should let no one deceive them with empty words,
| “for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6). |
When it comes to matters of material possessions, we often hear of people who have been deceived and swindled. Some people lose their health, and in some cases a person’s whole life may be ruined as a result of being taken in by the lies of others. But suppose a person is deceived regarding the matter of his salvation, the most serious and fundamental of all problems - the matter of his eternal existence! This is clearly a subject that demands careful consideration.
One day Jesus asked,
| “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). |
It is generally easier to concern ourselves with matters related to the material world rather than the less tangible matters of the spirit. People will often go to great lengths to deal with problems related to their physical surroundings. Sometimes we even hear stories of parents who sacrifice their lives for their children. Unable to escape the poverty in which they are forced to live, they commit suicide and try to make it look like an accident so that their children can live in comfort from the life insurance benefits.
In the eyes of the world this may appear to be a very noble act, but before God and in the light of the Bible this is not the most sensible way to act and neither does it offer a fundamental solution to the problem.
The Birth Of A Child Of God
One day several years ago a young college student came to see me in a state of utter exhaustion. She wanted to ask me if man really has a spirit. She was from a poor family, but her studies were being supported by a scholarship provided by a local newspaper. She was a good student but then she had contracted tuberculosis and hadn’t been able to attend classes for the past six months. She had been resting at home but was getting weaker and weaker until she reached the stage from which it was difficult to recover. Since she was going to die anyway, she thought it better to get it over with quickly and reduce the financial burden on her parents. Thus she set out to commit suicide. Then, on the way, she remembered the words of some Christian friends who had told her that man has a spirit. Even though she herself didn’t believe in God, on that day it suddenly occurred to her that perhaps man does have a spirit after all. So she dropped by the church where I was working at the time.
She listened carefully as I talked to her about the Bible and she left saying that she could see that this was a problem that needed deep and careful consideration. We met several times over the next six months, and then one day I was called to what appeared to be her deathbed. She told me that through the talks we had had over the past six months she had come to believe in the existence of God and of man’s spirit, but now that she lay at death’s door, she still wasn’t confident that she was going to heaven. Tears began to trickle down her face as she spoke. We talked together some more and then I went home, leaving her to think about what we had read together in the Bible.
The next day she sent for me again. She was already too weak to talk. When she saw that I had come, she lifted her hand and brought it weakly to her chest. I watched as her finger spelled out the words, “I can’t talk but I can listen.” After that she could only manage to spell out two more words. “Now death . . .” With these words she stopped. I thought she meant she was dying so I asked her outright, “Have you been saved?” There was a slight nod of her head, and her finger moved on her chest once more to spell out the word, “today.” It was at that moment that I realized with relief that she had been trying to tell me that death no longer posed a problem for her. In this manner I witnessed the birth of a child of God. That student lived on for about another two years. When her last moments actually came, she asked that a hymn be sung, and thus she went before God with a hymn of praise.
There is a spiritual side and a physical side to our lives and both need to be taken into account. When it comes to spiritual matters, there are many issues that need to be considered carefully in the light of the Bible.
As I have already said, the Bible talks about salvation, receiving eternal life, and being born again. Before we discuss these matters, however, we need to deal with the all-important question of whether or not the Bible is true.